University of Arkansas confirms first positive case of COVID-19


FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The University of Arkansas has reported its first positive case of COVID-19.

According to a letter that was sent to students and faculty from the chancellor, the student had recently been in contact with someone who had visited from out-of-state, is symptomatic and is in self-isolation off-campus.

You can read the entire letter from Chancellor Steinmetz below:

Dear U of A community,

This weekend, we learned that a member of the University of Arkansas community has been diagnosed with the coronavirus (COVID-19), the first confirmed case within our university community.

The student, who had recently been in contact with someone who had visited from out-of-state, is symptomatic and is in self-isolation off campus. This is the case for anyone who receives a positive test result or is awaiting test results. Please keep this individual and all the others battling the virus across the nation and worldwide in your thoughts. We wish them a speedy recovery.

Most of our students are not on campus during spring break. Others are in the process of moving out of university-managed housing by April 3rd or have already moved home to finish the semester remotely. Housing-related questions should be sent to Faculty and staff are now working remotely with the exception of a limited number of employees required to maintain essential services on campus including health care, public safety and food-to-go for the limited number of students still on campus.

Wherever you are, I urge you to take every precaution you can to stay healthy and safe. Practice social distancing – avoiding group activities or outings – and other measures to help contain the spread of respiratory illnesses. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water. Carry alcohol-based hand sanitizer and use it when you cannot wash your hands. Cough or sneeze into your elbow or sleeve. When you use a tissue, throw it in the trash immediately. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Disinfect surfaces that can be contaminated such as desks, phones, doorknobs, keyboards, etc. Please continue to be vigilant about practicing these preventive measures.

We must all take responsibility for own health and the health of others. If you have a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, body aches or other flu-like symptoms, call your medical provider for guidance. Do not show up without calling first.

For the limited number of people on campus, the Pat Walker Health Center remains open for medical services but please be aware of the following temporary operational changes to help protect the health of patients and staff:

  • No walk-in appointments or online appointment scheduling
  • All appointments must be scheduled by phone: 479-575-4451
  • Only one entrance (West entrance – parking lot)
  • External temperature checks required for all before entry
  • Evening & Saturday clinic hours suspended
  • After-hours COVID-19 screening, testing, care or questions should be directed to Washington Regional Medical Center: 479-463-2055.

In addition, Pat Walker Health Center’s Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) has transitioned all its mental health services online in an effort to align with social distancing precautions. CAPS remains committed to ensuring crucial mental health services are available for all students when they need them. Students can call 479-575-5276 for tele-mental health services or visit for more information.

For the latest updates and information, please visit the university’s Coronavirus Update site. You can also send questions to

We continue to coordinate efforts with public health organizations at all levels and will continue to provide new information and updates moving forward.

Please be safe and remain vigilant in practicing preventive measures to reduce the spread of the virus. We will get through this together.

Joe Steinmetz

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